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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 05-01-2012, 09:50 PM   #1
jmellor
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Default Backwoods Smoker Questions...

Backwoods Questions

What's more fun than researching new cookers? Early stages on budgeting. Have been through a bunch of threads and have questions for the Backwoods owners out there. I like the Fatboy and Gater designs.

What's the preference on water pan? Do I want removable or permanent? I understand the difference. Almost sounds like the permanent pan is easier to deal with in some aspects and can be modded to auto load. Removable is...well...removable. But why do they make the Gater with a removable one? Don't get which one is preferable.

When you pull out the charcoal holder does the ash catcher slide out with it? I would be using this on a deck so that could get messy if it doesn't.

Maybe a dumb question, but does the water evaporate out the smoke stack or just condense inside the smoker? Is the inside a damp mess after a cook?

Can I really buy after market casters or am I better off ordering them? They seem pricey.

What exactly is the "hide setter" option and is it still offered? Read about helping with higher temps with the water pan.

Tell me about chicken in a Fatboy/Gator. I want to be able to throw some chicken in on a cook while using the water pan. Can I get the heat up high enough in the top rack or am I stuck based on the water factor. I know you can run them dry....but is that practical when cooking other things.

Finally, am I stuck with Guru/Stoker temp control options or will a PitmasterIQ fit on the slide door as well?

Sorry for the core dump...but didn't see these answered elsewhere so figured I would ask my brethren!
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:07 PM   #2
mr dirts bbq
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i want to answer but there is just too many questions, my meager brain cant handle, lol
1. i like water pans they add moisture to the air, also removable
2. as far as i know i havent seen a ash catcher slide out with the coal basket, but im retarded
3. out the pipe, never had any issues with water build up inside, also heavy use coats the inside with grease and smokes nicely
4. let the builder put them on, useless you wanna grind weld and paint on your new baby just pay them and the welds will be better also -sorry
5. ? hide setter? water pan is a heat sink also, but on horizontal offsets you can still ramp the temp up idk about verticals
6. as for mixing meats learn to use the pits and find your temps that work for you, timing is everything sort of, nothing will replace knowing your pit.
7. as for the stokers/guru/ique stuff they make universal fitting for those things i dont see an issue, just make sure its no the way of any moving parts handles vents etc

FYI this was to much work for one post, lol NEED MORE BEER TO COOL BRAIN OFF
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:02 AM   #3
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Thanks Mr. Dirts...Appreciate the efforts! I know it's a lot of questions.

These are pretty specific questions regarding Backwoods Smokers I know.


Any other backwoods owners care to chime in?
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmellor View Post
Thanks Mr. Dirts...Appreciate the efforts! I know it's a lot of questions.

These are pretty specific questions regarding Backwoods Smokers I know.


Any other backwoods owners care to chime in?

PM'ed you easier to talk on the phone than type back and forth
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:25 AM   #5
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What's the preference on water pan? Do I want removable or permanent?
I have a permanent and I would not want to deal with a removable one. I also have the auto water which is a big help on longer cooks. I understand the difference. Almost sounds like the permanent pan is easier to deal with in some aspects and can be modded to auto load. Removable is...well...removable. But why do they make the Gater with a removable one? Don't get which one is preferable.

When you pull out the charcoal holder does the ash catcher slide out with it? I would be using this on a deck so that could get messy if it doesn't
. It can slide out but doesn’t happen automatically. You are going to burn your deck either way with falling coals.

Maybe a dumb question, but does the water evaporate out the smoke stack or just condense inside the smoker? Is the inside a damp mess after a cook?
No damp mess at all.

Can I really buy after market casters or am I better off ordering them? They seem pricey
. Depending on your set up and how often you are going to be moving it, you will want to get the small balloon air tires. The castors are a PITA if you are using this for competitions.

What exactly is the "hide setter" option and is it still offered? Read about helping with higher temps with the water pan.
The hide setter is an opening between the firebox and your smoker. It has an adjustable slide that will allow you to let more direct smoke/heat into you chamber. If you are cooking hot and fast, you will want this option.

Tell me about chicken in a Fatboy/Gator. I want to be able to throw some chicken in on a cook while using the water pan. Can I get the heat up high enough in the top rack or am I stuck based on the water factor. I know you can run them dry....but is that practical when cooking other things.
Not specific to chicken, but I can get my competitor up to 400 degrees so I would assume you can get yours that high as well.

Finally, am I stuck with Guru/Stoker temp control options or will a PitmasterIQ fit on the slide door as well?
Interesting question – I started using a Guru and found that my fan was running all the time. I ended up removing the Guru and using the side vents. Come to find out, once this piece of equipment gets up to temp, it rarely will deviate. You may not need either one.

Sorry for the core dump...but didn't see these answered elsewhere so figured I would ask my brethren!


Hope that helps.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:43 PM   #6
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Thanks Michael- Good stuff. Much appreciated. The hide setter sounds like something I would want. Was that an option you asked for? I don't see it on the options list or as a feature...
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:59 PM   #7
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The others above covered everything that I would (or could) say regarding your questions, except the water pan. I have a Fatboy with the removeable water pan. It and I have a love-hate relationship. I love it when I can take it out and grill directly over the coals (I use my Fatboy as a pizza oven and cook pizzas directly over the coals with no water pan or diverter). It makes a great pizza that way. I hate it (or it hates me) when I have to take it out to empty it or clean it after a smoke. It's a pain and occassionally a mess -- although I'm sure the removeable is easier to clean when you get that baked-on coating of grease, etc. when the water pan runs dry before the fire goes out. I know I could pay close attention and avoid that mess... but I don't.

I'm sorry I don't have any real advice for you on this issue -- just my own experience. If I had it to do over again, I'd probably still get the removeable water pan, but I'd still think about it first.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmellor View Post
Thanks Michael- Good stuff. Much appreciated. The hide setter sounds like something I would want. Was that an option you asked for? I don't see it on the options list or as a feature...
I spoke directly with Mike at Backwoods. I explained what my process was and he recommended the hide setter.
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:33 PM   #9
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I think you've gotten good answers from all the previous replies, but I thought I'd add my 2 cents.

First, definitely go with pneumatic tires rather than casters. In fact, get the ones that are solid rather than inflatable. You will have hot coals near them. Mine was pre-drilled to accept bolt on casters and I did nothing special in terms of ordering it that way. It just came like that.

Second, don't cook on your deck. You're gonna have hot coals hit the ground and frankly, these cookers make a pretty good mess on the ground from the fire box and from sliding the cooking racks out to sauce, turn, etc. You'll get lots of drippings on the ground as well.

Finally, I've owned a Fatboy and a Pro Jr. and both have had fixed water pans. When it's clean up time, I sure wish they were removable.

Good luck!

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Old 05-02-2012, 04:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Braddog View Post
First, definitely go with pneumatic tires rather than casters. In fact, get the ones that are solid rather than inflatable. You will have hot coals near them. Mine was pre-drilled to accept bolt on casters and I did nothing special in terms of ordering it that way. It just came like that.

Second, don't cook on your deck. You're gonna have hot coals hit the ground and frankly, these cookers make a pretty good mess on the ground from the fire box and from sliding the cooking racks out to sauce, turn, etc. You'll get lots of drippings on the ground as well.

Finally, I've owned a Fatboy and a Pro Jr. and both have had fixed water pans. When it's clean up time, I sure wish they were removable.
Thanks Braddog. Bummer about the deck. Was thinking a good grill pad would suffice. Really thought I could use there easily.

I assume the pneumatic wheels were after market? I don't recall seeing them as an option.

Seems like the water pan is 50/50. Can't you just line them with foil to aid in the clean up?

Appreciate all the responses!
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:47 PM   #11
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I don't know if you can adequately line the non-removeable water pan, but I could line the removeable on and put the foil under the edges to hold it in place. I usually forget and pay the price each time. I use a good grill pad and haven't had much trouble, but it only takes once to burn a mark into your deck.

I would love to see a picture of a hide setter if someone has one.
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Old 05-02-2012, 04:50 PM   #12
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I use these oil drip pans under my cookers, as much for the mess as for the charcoal.

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Old 05-02-2012, 06:23 PM   #13
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You could put a piece of cement board down to protect your deck. You can get one at most lumber yards that sell ceramic tile. The only problem with a permanent water pan that I have come across is the drain can get plugged from time to time if not cleaned out regularly. But other than that, Backwoods are great smokers.
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